East Africa: Region Slowly Reopens for Business After Covid-19 Havoc

East Africa: Region Slowly Reopens for Business After Covid-19 Havoc

Businesses across East Africa are racing to pick up the pieces after six months of Covid-19 restrictions, setting the stage for economic recovery and a rise in employment numbers.

Emboldened by the declining Covid-19 infections, EAC partner states are in the process or have already re-opened their borders, hotels and schools.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a national Covid-19 conference on September 28, in which he is expected to address re-opening bars and easing a 9pm to 4am curfew.

Tanzania already re-opened all its institutions, and Uganda is set to resume international flights from October 1.

Kenya partially eased its night-time curfew by three hours in June, and also lifted travel restrictions affecting Nairobi and Mombasa.

"Flattening the Covid-19 curve is a national endeavour that requires action at the individual, community, county, and national levels. Every one of us must play our part for Kenya to triumph over the disease," said Kenya’s Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua, in a statement to the media last week.

According to a survey conducted last week by the East African Business Council (EABC), EAC partner states are expected to lose more than $54 billion of local tourists spending for 2020, on account of protracted closures of seaports and airports.

Tanzania, which had locked out Kenyan flights following a spat over Covid-19 restrictions, recently lifted the ban.

Kenya Airways resumed flights to 30 destinations on August 1, after grounding of its fleet in March to stem the spread of the virus.

Kenya has also eased the entry of nationals from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gambia, and Sierra Leone, among other countries.

EABC commended the resumption of air transport services in the region, saying that the flight ban had ground some businesses to a halt."This will spur regional tourism, intra-EAC trade and bilateral trade between Kenya and Tanzania, offering steady business and economic rebound. In 2019, the value of Kenya’s exports to Tanzania stood at approximately $336 million, while imports were $275 million," said Peter Mathuki, the EABC chief executive."With the two countries re-opening their airspaces to each other, we are confident that this will increase demand for travel services, ease movement of people, integrate logistics value chains for exports of goods, open access to a larger market and boost regional tourism." Decreased trade Comparing March-July 2020 to the same period last year, the private sector analysis indicates that the value of Kenya’s exports to Tanzania decreased by 9.8 per cent, while imports […]

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